Joe Biden is promising investors that he will flood the white-collar labor market with a huge inflow of cheap foreign graduates, but he is offering only paperwork protections to the millions of U.S. graduates who will lose jobs, salaries, and careers.
“Biden will work with Congress to first reform temporary visas to establish a wage-based allocation process and establish enforcement mechanisms to ensure they are aligned with the labor market and not used to undermine wages,” said Biden’s plan for legal immigration. “Then, Biden will support expanding the number of high-skilled visas and eliminating the limits on employment-based visas by country, which create unacceptably long backlogs,” the plan says.
Biden’s zig-zag immigration manifesto suggests that he is trying to win support from the wealthy investors who gain from more college graduate immigrants yet also trying to win back the swing-voting college graduates who sided with Donald Trump in 2016.
Many college graduates sided with Trump in 2016 when he promised to curb the low-wage H-1B visa worker program. That H-1B program keeps roughly 750,000 foreign graduates in Americans’ jobs, alongside at least another 500,000 foreign graduates working under several other types of white-collar visa workers.
Trump has done little to follow through on his 2016 promise, partly because of intense pressure from the investors whose corporate stocks spike whenever white-collar salaries are nudged downwards. For example, Trump’s deputies are currently trying to preserve the 2015 rule that aids investors by granting work permits to 100,000 spouses of H-1B workers.
Trump’s deputies are also protecting the fraud-ridden Optional Practical Training program that annually gives work permits to 300,000 foreign graduates of U.S. colleges so they can compete against for jobs against the 800,000 Americans who graduate with skilled degrees.
Donald Trump's OMB again delays promised end of Obama's @H4EAD work permits for 100K spouses of 800K H-1B visa-workers who take jobs from American college grads. Big giveaway to pro-Dem Silicon Valley investors though T. needs more whte-collr votes in 2020 https://t.co/hPqGWtUW1t
— Neil Munro (@NeilMunroDC) September 18, 2019
The Biden zig-zag is found throughout his plan for expanding legal immigration, which annually delivers one million legal immigrants as four million young Americans get their first full-time jobs.
Biden promises more green cards for India’s growing population of U.S.-based workers. The roughly 750,000 Indian workers are hired by U.S. investors to replace American graduates, but Biden promised paperwork to protect Americans from the lower-wage Indians. His plan:
Increases the number of visas offered for permanent, work-based immigration based on macroeconomic conditions. Currently, the number of employment-based [green cards] is capped at 140,000 each year, without the ability to be responsive to the state of the labor market or demands from domestic employers. As president, Biden will work with Congress to increase the number of visas awarded for permanent, employment-based immigration—and promote mechanisms to temporarily reduce the number of visas during times of high U.S. unemployment.
Biden’s manifesto recognizes that employers will game the visa worker rules to discriminate against Americans and to favor cheap foreign workers:
The U.S. immigration system must guard against economy-wide wage cuts due to exploitation of foreign workers by unscrupulous employers who undercut the system by hiring immigrant workers below the market rate or go outside the immigration system to find workers. Biden will work with Congress to ensure that employers are not taking advantage of immigrant workers and that U.S. citizen workers are not being undercut by employers who don’t play by the rules.
Yet Biden also wants to provide green cards and citizenship to all foreign workers who get Ph.D.s in U.S. universities: “Biden believes that foreign graduates of a U.S. doctoral program should be given a green card with their degree and that losing these highly trained workers to foreign economies is a disservice to our own economic competitiveness.”
Current laws allow U.S employers to reward foreign workers with 140,000 green cards each year. But Biden wants to effectively double this huge reward by not counting the families’ green cards against the 140,000 annual visa cap:
As president, Biden will support family-based immigration by preserving family unification as a foundation of our immigration system; by allowing any approved applicant to receive a temporary non-immigrant visa until the permanent visa is processed; and by supporting legislation that treats the spouse and children of green card holders as the immediate relatives they are, exempting them from caps, and allowing parents to bring their minor children with them at the time they immigrate.
That promise is a quiet signal of support for India’s population of 300,000 workers — and 300,000 family members — who have taken hundreds of thousands of careers from American technology graduates. India’s U.S. workforce has also suppressed many Americans’ salaries, yet is now angrily denouncing U.S. legislators for not quickly giving them the green cards that were promised to them by their U.S. employers.
Biden’s promise puts him close to Utah GOP Sen. Mike Lee, whose S.386 bill would put the 600,000 Indians on a fast-track to green cards and also force other U.S. employers and non-Indian immigrants to wait in line behind the technology sector’s workforce.
For blue-collar workers, Biden’s zig-zag plan also promises more protections — and also more foreign visa workers seeking to take their jobs:
Biden will work with Congress to reform the current system of temporary work visas to allow [the foreign] workers in these select industries to switch jobs, while certifying the labor market’s need for foreign workers. Employers should be able to supply data showing a lack of labor availability and the harm that would result if temporary workers were unavailable. This flexibility, coupled with strong safeguards that require employers to pay a fair calculation of the prevailing wage and ensure the right of all workers to join a union and exercise their labor rights, will help meet the needs of domestic employers, sustain higher wages for American workers and foreign workers alike, incentivize workers and employers to operate within legal channels, prevent exploitation of temporary workers, and boost local economies.
For Americans living in heartland states, Biden promises more immigrant workers — plus paperwork to protect Americans from being sidelined by the immigrants:
As president, Biden will support a program to allow any county or municipal executive of a large or midsize county or city to petition for additional immigrant visas to support the region’s economic development strategy, provided employers in those regions certify there are available jobs, and that there are no workers to fill them. Holders of these visas would be required to work and reside in the city or county that petitioned for them, and would be subject to the same certification protections as other employment-based immigrants.
American graduates took on debts to get their degrees, yet federal data shows a very slow salary growth amid the flood of visa workers, outsourcing, downsizing, and automation. In fact, non-college-educated blue-collar workers are enjoying a faster — but still modest — wage growth than their university-educated and indebted peers.
Goldman Sachs says blue-collars are getting a 4.3% raise or 2.7% after inflation.
That growth is beating white-collar salary growth since 2016, partly b/c of higher min-wage laws, but also b/c the gov't imports many foreign grads to lower salaries. https://t.co/2diCwbRMBF
— Neil Munro (@NeilMunroDC) December 11, 2019
So Biden’s plan also seeks to shame and silence Americans who recognize they will be sidelined by waves of cheap foreign graduates.
The effort to silence appears in the first few paragraphs of his plan, in which Biden suggests that his first priority is to protect migrant children — even when immigrants take wages, jobs, careers, and homes from American graduates. His plan starts by saying:
It is a moral failing and a national shame when a father and his baby daughter drown seeking our shores. When children are locked away in overcrowded detention centers and the government seeks to keep them there indefinitely. When our government argues in court against giving those children toothbrushes and soap. When President Trump uses family separation as a weapon against desperate mothers, fathers, and children seeking safety and a better life. When he threatens massive raids that would break up families who have been in this country for years and targets people at sensitive locations like hospitals and schools. When children die while in custody due to lack of adequate care.
Throughout his manifesto, Biden adopts the role of a serial arsonist who urges more spending on the local fire department. For example, he argues that only migrants can rejuvenate the many American communities that are being pushed behind by the federal government’s policy of sending cheap immigrant labor into the coastal cities:
Immigrants bring tremendous economic, cultural, and social value to their new communities. Even in cities hit hard by the loss of manufacturing jobs, immigrants are a key driver of entrepreneurship and population growth.
According to a 2017 report by the New American Economy, from 2000 to 2015, immigrants accounted for 49.7% of all population growth in the Great Lakes region — over 1.5 million people — which helped offset the impacts of population decline in cities like Syracuse and Akron. Immigrants are bringing new life to local economies–starting businesses, paying taxes, and spending their dollars back into their new communities.
The New American Economy group was created in 2013 by billionaire Mike Bloomberg to prod Congress into raising the immigration numbers.
NYT's Tom Edsall says Trump's immigration-reform voters are 'snakes and vermin.'
Edsall usually tries to understand ordinary Americans' concerns. But he & his elite peers live in a bubble & just don't see immigration's huge economic damage to Americans.https://t.co/jj6CNuos0r
— Neil Munro (@NeilMunroDC) December 16, 2019